Friday, May 11, 2007

The Three Kings - Bouldering in NJ

Forget Cradle Rock in Princeton (NJ). Princeton is full of snobs anyways and spoiled college kids. And plus, Cradle Rock is now closed to climbers.

Morris County (NJ) is the place to be for bouldering in the Garden State (and yes, there are still gardens in NJ). Trust me on this one. I’ve been looking for boulders in NJ for almost 18 years now. And the funny thing is that the three best places to hit are all within ~ 15 minutes or so of each other.

The Three Kings are:

Tourne Park
Pyramid Mountain
Split Rock

I have been bouldering for a long time throughout the Northeast and a little bit out West, and some of these rocks are good as it gets. No need to travel up to the Gunks every weekend and contend with the beanie-wearing kids who probably don’t even know who John Gill is. How can you boulder and not know who John Gill is? Read “John Gill: Master of Rock” by Pat Ament.

All of these boulders are essentially located within the Denville / Boonton town lines.

Maps can be obtained through the Morris County NJ Park Commission and/or just buy a Morris County road map.

Here’s the skinny are each area.

First, some rules to (please) follow:

No. 1: Bouldering is not “officially” allowed in these parks - maintain a low profile bro.
No. 2: Be nice to the hikers and the high school kids making out in the woods.
No. 3: Don’t even think about littering.
No. 4: Keep your group small (2 - 3 people max).
No. 5: Ease up on the chalk.
No. 6: No landscaping around the boulders.
No. 7: Check yourself for ticks, especially for deer ticks.

Tourne Park:

Most of the good boulders are located inside of the “loop” trail. The rocks are very easy to find. This is a great place to get a lot of hang time without burning too much daylight as most of the boulders are close to each other. Have fun. Afterwards, hit the Denville Diary for a vanilla milk shake (the original power drink).

Pyramid Mountain:

This is my favorite place to trail run & explore in NJ. Check out my Dec. 20th (2006) posting for the low down on the boulders. Lots to do here – enjoy the area.

Split Rock:

This is my newest area to explore. I have scouted out some nice boulders during some of my hikes here. The hike around the lake is a great trail run. Also, this is a great place to practice open water swimming even though swimming is not allowed here. But again, keep a low profile and you should be OK. Just stay away from the dam; otherwise you’ll be sucked over the falls. I’ll report more on the bouldering once I fully check out the rocks here, but there appears to be lots to do.

To sum it all up, 3 of the best places to boulder in NJ, in my opinion, are all located in beautiful and expensive Morris County NJ. Like most of my posted “guides”, I purposefully leave out the details so that individuals can explore and make some mistakes along the way.

In today’s world of GPS, OnStar, www, etc., there’s not much out there to discover on your own. So roam through the woods, get dirty, figure things out on your own & climb as many rocks as you can, and may be I’ll see you out there.


gwadzilla said...

do you bring the backpack pad to help catch your fall?

I have seen some great films on the topic of bouldering

but only vaguely familiar with the sport

Roman Holiday said...

Bouldering is a great low budget, high thrills sport. Use a crash pad for sure. And get some rock shoes & a chalk bag, and you are good to go.

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon said...

I just bought Paul's book and started bouldering at the Tourne... I was amazed how great the bouldering was and how close all the locations are and its only 5 mins from my house! Do you have any beta on the Jackal Boulder... Im working on a mix of Rocket Man (V3) and the Project (#38) listed in Paul's book?

Anonymous said...

Just moved to Newton From ATL. been scouting some great rock Around Byram near Cranberry Lake. Looking for some help developing the problems in the area. find me on Facebook or shoot me an email.

-Joshua Pruitt